The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson has called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to ensure that the country is restructured before the 2019 general elections.
Dickson said restructuring and other recommendations contained in the report released during the week by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) should be treated as a matter of urgent national importance.
The governor charged the ruling party to convince the Nigerian people of its sincerity fast tracking work on the report and ensuring that implementation takes off before the general elections.
He however, called for a multi-party committee to be set up for the purpose of studying the report, with the view to engendering popular participation and fine tuning it to reflect a broader view. This, he said, must be done before a final submission to the National Assembly.
Commending the leadership of the APC for coming up with the report, the governor said the recommendations contained in the document had further strengthened the agitations for true federalism and resource control in the Niger Delta.
Urging the Federal Government to be sincere in the implementation of the recommendations, Dickson also enjoined other stakeholders to shed primordial considerations for the overriding interests of the country.
He expressed optimism that restructuring Nigeria would go a long way in calming frayed nerves and violent agitations and would also strengthen the unity of the country.
Among others, the APC committee report had recommended state ownership of onshore mineral resources including oil and state control of the police, prisons etc.
According to Dickson said had emanated from “unexpected quarters”, having been produced by a committee headed by Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna State. El Rufai had been one of the strident voices opposed to restructuring of the country.
The Governor said the committee’s report addressed some fundamental issues that have been bothering the minds of patriotic Nigerians.
Dickson said, “This development came from an unexpected quarters in a matter that is dear to us; the subject matter of restructuring to address the inequalities in our country.
Yesterday, Governor El Rufai, who chaired the APC committee submitted the report; While it is true that we are dealing with a proposal, this is coming from an unexpected quarters, and in the light of the opposition to structuring from some leaders, I thought that what the APC did was unexpected.
“Let me start by commending the committee and the leadership of that party for making what I will call the most fundamental proposal dealing with the issue of restructuring.
“This is very refreshing, and for me, when I see what is right, I commend it; when I see what is in the best interest of our country, I commend it because my politics is driven by conviction and not by convenience.
“With the kind of recommendations that they have made, I thought I should appreciate their patriotism and commitment to building an equitable and prosperous Nigeria”.
He advised the the job of mobilising national consensus on the report should start in earnest, with active involvement of the National Assembly.
“All of us need to mobilise national consensus to engage the National Assembly. So that we can drive all these issues before the next election. That is the test of sincerity”.
On his part, the Governor said he would intensify consultations across party lines to work towards the actualisation of the desired implementation of the report.
On the possibility or otherwise of meeting up with the 2019 general elections, Dickson insisted that it would not be too late to implement the report before the polls.
According to him, this is possible because the APC controls majority in the National and state assemblies and that given genuine commitment on the part of everyone, there is hope for timely implementation.